Me: Hiding in my room
by Chatting at The Sky
I always feel a little sad after returning from conferences. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED Blissdom. I had a great time!
But let’s be honest, conferences can bring out the best and worst of our self-esteem and self-confidence, can’t they? I can sit up in front of 250 women and speak about successful blogging and then want to run to my room and hide during lunch. And want to shut down my blog by the time I get home.
While I really enjoyed the conference last year too, I felt a little sad during and after my first Blissdom experience — it was not easy to go into a group of women I didn’t know and feel like an outsider. It was scary! I’m not the most outgoing or popular person at events so it is kind of a bittersweet experience for me.
This year was better, because I know more people. But still it can feel like you are in the shadows of the popular girls or popular blogs, waiting in the wings for their fans to clear, feeling invisible. I hear that from people, and I feel it myself. It is no one’s fault (although some people tend to promote others to “celebrity” status when really, we are all just women.)
I still only really know a short list of people in blogland, so I tend to cling to them like a security blanket. I guess people could think that is cliquish but really it is just an insecurity thing — it is scary to walk into a group of women alone! I am so grateful I have invested the time to make some good friends online.
I enjoy getting to know my friends better at these conferences since most of our friendship is conducted through writing. Being able to hear them laugh, hug them and get to know them in real life this year is the highlight of Blissdom.
I almost didn’t go to Blissdom this year. I was afraid of those feelings of insecurity. It is easier to stay home and not face that. But, I decided to muster up my courage and go again — and I am glad I did. Each time I try to break out of my comfort zone (which is basically to hide behind my computer screen), I learn a little bit more about myself. The good and the bad. By confronting my fears, I am challenged to work on the stuff I can overcome. And by putting myself out there, I become more aware of what I need to accept about myself.
I have highs and lows at Blissdom. From a pathetic attempt with one of my friends (NESTER) to meet a blogging giant (we ended up backing away looking like dorks, totally awkward and embarrassed — just ask Emily at Chatting at the Sky, she saw it. LOL) to sitting across from other bloggers just having a conversation and feeling like I had found “my people” — there are a wide range of emotions and experiences at a conference like that!
Mostly I try to think like this: life is what you make of it. Each time I muster up my courage to put myself out there, there is a risk. I might be hurt. I might feel left out. I might make a fool of myself. People might hate me. Mean people might say mean things about me. I might feel like quitting. But if I don’t try, I won’t learn. I won’t grow. I won’t connect at all.
Connecting takes time. And it is a two way street — if you were intimidated to meet someone at Blissdom, chances are that person was intimidated by someone as well. We need to be brave and reach out (even if we end up backing away looking like a fool, LOL). You might have to connect with a lot of people to eventually find “your people.” And you might have to connect with someone more than once and on more levels before you sense you are friends and before you feel like you BELONG.
If you leave a conference feeling insecure or disconnected, don’t give up. More women feel that way than you probably realize.
Reach out and try again.
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